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FTSE falls as insurers struggle

By BFN News | 04:50 PM | Thursday 07 December, 2017

Insurers underperformed as investors continued to have a negative read across from Saga's (SAGA) profit warning on Wednesday, which wiped off a quarter of its value on the day. Admiral (ADM) and Direct Line (DLG) fell 2.5% and 1.7%, respectively. Saga was 1.5% down at 140.3p. Primark owner Associated British Foods (ABF) dropped 2.1% to £28.57 following a negative broker note. The FTSE 100 closed 0.2% lower at 7,329. Brent crude oil jumped 1.1% to $61.93 per barrel. Copper ticked 0.3% higher to $2.95 per pound and gold fell 0.8% to $1,253 per ounce. OVERSEAS MARKETS On Wall Street, the stock markets made minimal gains ahead of employment figures on Friday before the next US Federal Reserve meeting, which could suggest the direction of interest rates. MID AND LARGE CAP RISERS AND FALLERS Shares in Ladbrokes Coral (LCL) catapulted 30.9% to 177.6p on confirmed speculation by its rival GVC (GVC) that it wants to buy the gambling company. GVC proposed to buy Ladbrokes for £3.9bn, helping the stock rise 6.2% to 965.5p. William Hill (WMH) was also higher, up 6.7% to 311p, after it ended a legal spat with Scientific Games concerning the acquisition of NYX shares from the bookie. Packaging group DS Smith (SMDS) reported better than anticipated first half results thanks its strong trading in e-commerce and with Pan-European customers, pushing the shares 2.3% higher to 551.2p. Housebuilder MJ Gleeson (GLE) was on track to meet full year expectations, which was supported by strong demand and a 30% jump in forward orders as of 30 November. Investors were pleased with the update, marking the shares 2% higher to 770p. Legal & General (LGEN) was flat at 259.9p despite continued momentum in all its businesses and being on track for a record year for earnings and profits. SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS There was good news from pension services provider Xafinity (XAF) as pre-tax profit in the six months to 30 September soared 188% to £4.9m. Its shares rose 8.7% to 188p. Mobile services supplier The People's Operator (TPOP) plummeted 73.3% to 0.1p on plans to raise £3.2m at a discount to wipe off outstanding debts and implement a new marketing strategy. Investors were unhappy that the company might need to raise more money in the second half of next year. Equipment hire company HSS Hire (HSS) announced it identified £10m to £14m of additional savings that could help to drive profitable growth, which boosted the share price by 9.9% to 32p. Proton therapy systems developer Advanced Oncotherapy (AVO) rallied 37.9% to 45.5p on an exclusive distribution deal with Yantai CIPU Medical Technology. Social care services provider CareTech (CTH) reported a 12.6% rise in underlying pre-tax profits to £29.4m in the half year to the end of September. The stock advanced 1.4% to 432p on the news. Story provided by

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